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Powering up the future of the Furniture Shows

What is the importance of events targeted for the UK furniture industry?
The UK furniture industry is a healthy and vital component of the British economy, and requires strong and successful furniture shows to support it. 

Why did the partnership between Clarion and the January and Manchester Furniture Shows come about? 
This is an exciting partnership - it brings together the deep market knowledge and relationships of the founders with Clarion’s resources and marketing expertise in delivering world class retail business-to-business events, securing the long-term future of the events.
What are your thoughts on how these two events have developed over the years? 
We must acknowledge the achievements of Laraine Janes and Theresa Raymond, organisers of the Manchester Furniture Show and founders of the January Furniture Show. Through their passion and professional focus they have created a valued and trusted platform for the entire furniture sector to join together, to showcase and source the latest products and network with retailers and buyers from across the country. 

How will the current organisers remain involved in the events in the future? 
Laraine and Theresa have been involved with the running of furniture fairs for more than 30 years and they will continue to play a key strategic role in the direction of both events for the foreseeable future. Clarion’s role will be to support them with the necessary investment and expertise to develop the shows to their full potential.

Why is Clarion the right fit for developing these events further? 
With 70 years’ experience organising successful retail shows including Home & Gift in Harrogate and Top Drawer in London, Clarion was the ideal choice when the Furniture Shows team began to look for a partner to help them achieve the next stage of their shows’ development.  We share the same passion for retail and events, taking pride in being in touch with, and close to the markets we serve.
What is your vision for the events?
We are committed to investing in the events, strengthening and building on their strong foundations and delivering an exciting next chapter for the show’s evolution. For our exhibitors, we are committed to maintaining the competitive and transparent pricing, customer service and return on investment for which the shows are known. We’re investing money, effort and expertise in marketing to increase profile, visibility and reach, to attract new relevant visitor audiences.

Who do you want to attract to the shows and how will you develop their offering? 
We will attract more new suppliers to ensure a good variety of products to tempt and excite visitors with an even better showcase of the latest suppliers, trends and innovations. We’ll look carefully at complementary product sectors and suppliers to extend buying opportunities.
How confident is Clarion about maintaining the success of these two shows?  
We are well-equipped to deliver on this vision, and I am confident that the industry will quickly see visible improvements. We look forward to working closely with manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and buyers — alongside Laraine, Theresa and their team — to ensure the events are up-to-date and fulfil the evolving needs of the industry.
This interview with Neil Gaisford, Managing Director - Retail, Clarion Events first appeared in Furniture News, July edition 2017